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Self-, Peer-, and Teacher Perceptions Under School Tracking (WP-23-23)

Ofer Malamud, Andreea Mitrut, Cristian Pop-Eleches, and Miguel Urquiola

The researchers examine student and teacher perceptions in Romania’s highly tracked schools. Regarding perceptions of effort, ability, performance, and self-confidence, they find: (1) Students just above a cutoff—tracked into a top class—have less favorable self-perceptions than those just below (i.e., “big-fish-little-pond” effects); (2) students more favorably perceive students in their own class (i.e., in-group bias); (3) this bias is stronger in lower-achieving classes; (4) students perceive themselves more positively than others perceive them (i.e., illusory superiority); (5) this bias is stronger among lower-achieving students (i.e., Krueger-Dunning effects). Thus, being assigned to a lower track may not negatively affect students’ self-perceptions.

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